Human Resources News & Insights

What? Company never filled position, but still wound up in court for age bias

All it takes is one ill-advised comment like this from a manager for an employer to get sued for bias.  

The comment came from Paul Doelle, who was in charge of hiring maintenance employees for Detroit Baptist Manor, a retirement community.

‘Got enough older guys’

In court, Doelle admitted that while he was interviewing Frank Branham, a 67-year-old, he told Branham: He was not looking to hire anyone [Branham’s] age because he had enough 40- and 50-year-old guys. He needed younger men that could climb ladders.

Branham wasn’t hired – in fact, no one was hired in the position he applied for. Then Branham sued Detroit Baptist Manor, claiming age discrimination.

Detroit Baptist Manor fought to get the lawsuit thrown out. It argued it didn’t hire anyone over Branham, and there wasn’t even an open position for a maintenance worker at that time, so Branham’s age couldn’t have played a part in why he wasn’t hired.

But the court sided with Branham. It said a jury could infer from Doelle’s comment that the reason Branham wasn’t hired was his age. So it’s letting the lawsuit proceed to trial, where Detroit Baptist Manor is facing a costly legal defense bill or a settlement.

Cite: Branham v. Detroit Baptist Manor, U.S. Dist. Crt. E.D. MI S.D., No. 15-cv-13403, 9/13/16.

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  • patriot1111

    Sue sue sue, age discrimination is widespread thru out the country.